HAZARD – One person was charged with drug trafficking and another with possession following a traffic stop Monday morning in the Cherokee Hills community.
Det. Bradley Couch and Deputy Chief Joe Engle with the Hazard Police Department were patrolling the area when Engle said a seat belt violation prompted them to pull over a vehicle being driven by 54-year-old Bruce Combs, a resident of the Combs community.
According to the police citation, Det. Couch noticed a pill bottle in Combs’ coat pocket as he exited the vehicle. Police dispatchers then notified Couch that Combs did have an active warrant before he was placed under arrest. That’s when Couch reported locating 130 methadone and seven oxycodone tablets, along with $1,489 in cash.
“It appeared that the subject had been drug trafficking due to the large amount of cash,” Engle noted, adding that the pills were found inside prescription bottles, though the prescriptions were not in Combs’ name.
Combs is now facing two counts of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance along with charges of failure to wear seat belts and operating on a suspended license.
A passenger in the vehicle, 37-year-old Sammy W. Watts, also of Combs, was also charged during the stop. According to the citation, approximately two ounces of marijuana were found inside the vehicle next to where Watts was sitting. He was charged with possession of marijuana and public intoxication.
Information police obtained during the traffic stop and from other cases also allowed police to obtain a search warrant for Watts’ residence in Combs, which was executed on Monday. Engle noted that no further evidence was discovered, though Det. Couch added that additional charges against Watts are pending.
Monday’s arrest was the result of the department’s ongoing drug interdiction detail, Engle said, and it appears that a lot of prescription drugs are being brought into the city from the Combs area. He urged anyone who sees anything that may indicate drug activity, such as a large number of vehicles coming and going at a residence, to contact authorities.
“If anybody’s got a complaint, they need to call us and we’ll check it out,” Engle said. “Complaints are what we go off of, that where we get our information from the public.”